Wrestler of the Year and First Team story
By Steve Ramirez
Haydn Scharbrough began the high school wrestling season as one of the top returning competitors in the area.
The Glendora senior, after winning CIF-Southern Section divisional and Masters titles and placing fourth at the CIF State championships, finished the season as the best.
For his efforts, Scharbrough, who competed at 145 pounds, is the Tribune’s Wrestler of the Year.
Scott Usher of Diamond Bar has been selected as Coach of the Year.
The All-Area first-team includes Northview’s Gilbert Nakatani (119), Javier Arellano (140), Steven Lopez (160) and Eddie Bernal (189); South Hills’ Thomas Morales (130), Trevor Behr (145) and Jeff Vargas (215); Rosemead’s Matt Fregoso (125) and Alberto Flores (135); Chino Hills’ Christian Martin (103) and Brody Goens (171); Arroyo’s Christian Betancourt (112); West Covina’s Brad Ojala (152); and Diamond Bar’s Brian Ryu (heavyweight).
Scharbrough, after being just one of two area competitors to earn CIF-SS Masters titles and topping the list of four area athletes to place among the top eight at the state meet, proved to be the best of them all.
Wrestler of the Year: Haydn Scharbrough, Senior, 145, Glendora
Coach of the Year: Scott Usher, Diamond Bar
103: Christian Martin, Junior, Chino Hills
112: Christian Betancourt, Senior, Arroyo
119: Gilbert Nakatani, Senior, Northview
125: Matt Fregoso, Senior, Rosemead
130: Thomas Morales, Senior, South Hills
135: Alberto Flores, Junior, Rosemead
140: Javier Arellano, Junior, Northview
145: Trevor Behr, Junior, South Hills
152: Brad Ojala, Sophomore, West Covina
160: Steven Lopez, Sophomore, Northview
171: Brody Goens, Junior, Chino Hills
189: Eddie Bernal, Junior, Northview
215: Jeff Vargas, Senior, South Hills
Heavyweight: Brian Ryu, Senior, Diamond Bar
103: Richie Taira, Junior, Walnut
112:Andrew Delgado, Senior, Ayala
119: Vincent Herrera, Senior, South Hills
125: Tim Tran, Senior, South Hills
130: Kyle Acevedo, Senior, Covina
135: Bryan Salinas, Freshman, Northview
140: Chrystian Banuelos, Senior, San Dimas
145: Adam Caballero, Sophomore, West Covina
152: Nick Alexander, Senior, Charter Oak
160: Joaquin Ramos, Senior, Baldwin Park
171: Kevin Kim, Senior, Diamond Bar
189: Dennis Ruan, Senior, Diamond Bar
215: Chris Auxier, Senior, Northview
Heavyweight: Peter Nonu, Senior, South Hills
“My junior year was serious and my senior year was more fun, even though my training regiment was increased significantly,” Scharbrough said. “The difference going into the state tournament this year was a change in my strategy and my overall improvement in wrestling.
“This year I focused on each match and told myself no matter
what I’m going all out and will come out on top. That’s how you push yourself through state. For me, Jesus was my best trainer and without him I am nothing.”
Scharbrough, who qualified for the state championships last season, but didn’t place, showed that improvement all season. He was ranked among the state top 10 most of the season, and lived up to the billing, scoring three falls en route to a CIF-SS Central Division title before getting another win by fall in the finals at Masters. He was solid at the state championships, advancing to the semifinals en route to a fourth-place finish.
“My favorite part of the (season) is February,” Scharbrough said. “It’s a wild month of upsets, victories and losses. February is exciting, no matter what skill level a wrestler you are.
“I compare it to (basketball’s) March Madness. This year for me was fun and that was the attitude I had. It’s what was the main difference from last year.”
The season was also rewarding to Diamond Bar and Usher, who guided the Brahmas to one of the best seasons in the program’s history. It featured both team and individual accomplishments, including Diamond Bar winning its first league title in more than a decade, heavyweight Brian Ryu advancing to the state championships for the second consecutive year and Kevin Kim (171) winning a CIF-SS Southern Division title.
This year’s All-Area first team includes a strong contingent from traditional-power Northview, which placed four on the list after winning a Division I dual title and Southern Division team championship.
Nakatani led the list after winning a Southern Division title and placing seventh at both Masters and the state meet. The Vikings’ other first-team selections were Arellano (140), who was fourth in the Southern Division and advanced to Masters; Lopez (160), who won a divisional title, and Bernal (189), who advanced to Masters after finishing fourth in the Southern Division.
Traditional-power South Hills had three on the list, led by Morales (130), who fought through an early setback to place eighth at the state meet. He also finished second in the Northern Division and was sixth at Masters. The other Huskies to make the first team are Trevor Behr (145), who was second in the Northern Division, and Jeff Vargas (215), a state qualifier who was also second in the Northern Division and sixth at Masters.
Chino Hills and Rosemead have two each on the first team. The Huskies, who enjoyed perhaps the best season in the program’s history, are represented by Christian Martin (103) and Brody Goens. Both qualified for the state meet, with Martin sixth at Masters and Goens seventh.
Rosemead’s Fregoso (125) and Flores (135) were both state qualifiers, and placed fourth and ninth, respectively, at Masters. Both won Southern Division titles.
Arroyo’s Betancourt (112) was one of four area wrestlers to place at state. He took sixth after advancing to the semifinals. He also won a Southern Division title and was fourth at Masters.
West Covina’s Ojala (152) qualified for the state meet after finishing second in the Southern Division and placed eighth at Masters.
Ryu (heavyweight) completed a solid high school career in which he qualified for the state meet the past two years. He placed fourth in the Southern Division and at Masters.